Custom CRM Software: Pitfalls For Small Businesses
Creating a CRM solution from scratch seems a lucrative idea for many business owners. The main benefit is a set of features tailored to the specific needs of your company without any extra functionalities you will never use. Let’s find out in this blog post what it takes to build a custom CRM and whether it is worth doing if you run a small business.
Table of Contents
CRM Software Types: Off-The-Shelf and Custom-Made
Do Small Businesses Have Enough Time and Budget to Build a Custom CRM?
Why Off-The-Shelf Solutions Win Over Custom-Made CRMs
What Companies are Custom CRMs Best For?
Entrepreneurs who decide to automate their business processes face a difficult choice: whether to use an off-the-shelf system or create their custom one. The truth is that the majority of those who decide to invest in the development of a custom solution, go back to a ready-made one after spending lots of time and budget. Continue reading to see what would be the best choice for your company.
Every company has dozens of unique processes that are closely integrated. Business owners often think that these processes are so unique that they need to create an equally unique CRM system for them.
Ideally, a custom CRM solution would include the basic functionality fully adapted to the specific company — from the terms used within the system to the way workflows are built.
Unlike a custom CRM product, packaged solutions are more diverse. They are usually based on a common model of business processes that would suit different customers and a big set of features for various activities. This flexibility often confuses entrepreneurs and makes them think they won’t find what they need in this rich functionality. But the decision to develop your program for small and medium-sized businesses is not a good option. Let’s find out why in the next block.
Let's face it. The needs and processes of a small business are not so unique as they seem to entrepreneurs that they justify the recourses needed to develop a custom-made CRM system. This is the point at which you need to understand that the time and money spent on building a unique program can exceed your company's turnover.
Product Development Cost
Custom CRM development requires a team of skilled software engineers, designers, managers, and testers. Why cannot a single person do it? Because developing a customer relationship management solution is not a simple two-week project but a whole ecosystem of different functions and features. An estimated value of creating a custom CRM app is $20,000 to $40,000. The actual cost may vary depending on many factors including seniority levels, the complexity of the system, and additional feature requests.
When you find a perfect team for the job, you’ll need to manage the process effectively. It won’t be a problem if you are skilled in project management and can control the implementation of the business requirements and specifications of a new product. You should be also flexible enough to let your team modify the initial idea if they find a better option on the way and to deal with constant updates and changes regularly. So if you have such professional skills and experience, your development project will not last for years…And do not forget about ongoing maintenance afterward...
When you have your CRM system ready, you will deal with many post-maintenance tasks: testing, identifying and solving issues, training employees, updating and implementing new features, fixing emerging system malfunctions, and much more. For a small business, this means more investment of time and money which will impact your bottom line and slow down business growth in the end.
Technical Support Service
Another important consideration when choosing a CRM system is the opportunity to talk to customer support managers in real time. Most CRM software providers offer this option to their users to help maintain the system and resolve issues that may suddenly arise when you least expect them.
When building your custom CRM software, you won't have this option. You will not only be responsible for the data protection but also for the proper functioning of this data. For proper system maintenance, you will need to find a freelance developer or hire a development company to solve your issues regularly. Spoiler: it will not be that easy to do due to the specifics of hiring employees in the IT industry. And this will add a decent amount of money to your monthly expenses, too.
Today's technology is changing at the speed of light. Every day there are new business opportunities that can speed up processes and optimize workflows. You will often need to add new integrations with payment or business performance analysis services, marketplaces or messengers, and other tools to keep your business competitive.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to implement these changes into an in-house CRM system at the time when you need them most. And if you want the system to run smoothly, you should update it regularly to fix bugs or improve the usability of certain functions.
Unlike custom-made software, SaaS solutions can release the necessary updates promptly (and because they operate in the cloud, they do this without users involved). If your business goal is to improve customer satisfaction by using modern technology, you should be focusing your efforts on finding reliable customer management software with a flexible subscription model.
Most off-the-shelf CRM systems provide users with additional materials like tutorial videos and step-by-step guides featuring frequently asked questions and solutions to common difficulties. In addition, some companies offer demos, presentations, onboarding assistance, and employee training so that your team can quickly learn how to use a new program.
With an in-house solution in place, you won’t have these options. Once the developers create the software, they probably won't put together a maintenance manual for you and your employees. You'll either have to do it yourself or pay extra fees for this service.
Despite all the cons, the idea of developing a custom CRM system isn’t bad in itself, it is just not a good fit for small companies. For large businesses and corporations, creating a tailor-made solution is a well-thought-through business objective. For example, insurance companies, banks, and large private or state-owned enterprises work with in-house systems only as their internal data security is a priority for them. Large companies with high turnover have no problems with development budgets and keeping a team of developers. But if your business is not on a large scale, it does not make much sense to spend so many resources.
So what solution would be the best fit for small businesses? As your needs and client base grow, you will need a CRM program that grows with your entire company. RemOnline is just the right choice here. It helps you manage your customer relationships, streamline your warehouse operations and sales activity, improve the performance of marketing campaigns, create custom reports, and process customer requests and work orders faster. RemOnline’s subscription plans allow you to add locations and employees as your company grows. And with regular feature updates and free customer support, you will always have an advantage in a highly competitive market.
Screenshot of the Work Order Table in RemOnline
Business growth is what entrepreneurs are good at. That's why instead of looking for additional challenges and taking care of software development, you should focus on what matters the most to you — your company. If you are just starting or want to keep your expenses reasonably low, implement a ready-made solution that will allow you to automate your company's business processes and increase its profits at the same time without sacrificing a big part of your budget and precious time. When looking for the best solution to reach your business objectives, try out a SaaS product like RemOnline. There is 7-day free access to all features, onboarding assistance, and easy-to-follow user guides available for all users. And if you want to see RemOnline in action, request a demo here.